PROCESSED FOODS: 7 reasons why they aren’t good for you (science-backed)

PROCESSED FOODS: 7 reasons why they aren’t good for you (science-backed)

We hear that processed foods aren’t good for
us. But why exactly aren’t they good for us? I’m going to tackle that question in this
video and I’m also going to talk about the differences between whole foods, minimally
processed foods and heavily processed foods. If you’re interested, keep watching. Hello hello! Welcome back to The Whole Happy Life. My name is Ria and I’m a holistic nutritionist
with a food engineering background. So, we are talking about processed foods and
why they aren’t the best for our health. Now, I’m not saying in this video that you
need to cut out processed foods completely and that they are toxic and they’re bad for
you in that sense. I think it’s all about balance. I don’t think it’s realistic to completely
cut out processed foods, but it is important to know that they aren’t the best choice when
it comes to good health. So that’s what the purpose of this video is. Before we dive into the 7 reason why processed
foods aren’t the best choice, I wanted to talk
about the differences between different categories of food. So the first category is whole foods, the
second category is minimally processed foods and the third category is heavily processed
foods. I’m going to give you an example to explain
the differences. So let’s start with something like strawberries. So strawberries are a whole food because they
are in their natural form, there is no fiber removed, no nutrition removed. And that’s just the way they are, that’s the
way they grow, it’s a whole food. It’s a nutrient dense food. So the same berries could become minimally
processed foods if they are processed a little bit in such a way that they are still nutritious,
but slightly processed. An example would be frozen berries. So if you buy frozen berries that have no
added sugar, nothing is done to them. They are as they are and they are just frozen
– that would be a minimally processed food. The processing is the freezing process, but
it’s not changing the nutrition too much. The minimally processed foods are actually
ok. Another example of something that is minimally
processed would be almond butter. So almonds would be the whole food. Almond butter would be the minimally processed
food. It’s still nutritious. Now the third category is the heavily processed
foods. These are the foods that you want to avoid
and limit. So heavily processed food is so different,
so far removed from the original food that it doesn’t have the original nutrition and
it has a lot of added ingredients. So let’s go back to our strawberry example. So if I were to take strawberries and create
some sort of a berry spread. A lot of companies do this. That berry spread will have added sugar, it
won’t have as much vitamin C as the berries and it may even have artificial colouring
and flavours. That is a heavily processed food. That is not a nutritious food compared to
the strawberries. So now that you know the differences between
the different categories, let me talk about the 7 reasons why heavily processed foods
are not so great for you. The first reason is: lower vitamins and minerals. In general, when foods are processed, they
lose some of their nutrition. So let’s go back to that berry example. So the berries, when it becomes a berry spread,
loses a lot of its vitamin C. So it’s not as nutritious as the original food. Now, someone who eats a lot of processed foods,
will end up not getting enough vitamins and minerals. So that’s why having a heavily processed diet
means you’re not getting the full nutrition. Number 2 is lower fibre. So a lot of processing removes the fibre from
the original food. A good example of this is white bread. So white bread does not contain the fibre
that the original wheat kernel has. So if you were to eat something like farro,
which is the wheat kernel just boiled or steamed. That actually has quite a bit of fibre, but
white bread – hardly anything. So there is that difference. So if someone were to eat a lot of processed
foods, they wouldn’t get enough fibre compared to someone who eats more whole foods. Now why is fibre important? Well it’s important for a number of different
things, mainly for digestive health, for good bowel movements and just in general having
your system run smoothly and having you feel fuller for longer. People who eat more fibre tend to be a lower
weight because they get satisfied with smaller amounts of food. Now what about foods that have added fibre? There’s a granola bar company that does this
– they add fibre. I’m not going to name them. You probably now who they are. So they add fiber to their granola bars. Does that make the processed food good for
you? I don’t think so! Adding fibre to a food that doesn’t have much
nutrition doesn’t help. Ideally get your fibre from whole foods. So ways to get fibre from whole foods would
be things like legumes, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, that sort of thing. Number three: added sugar. So a lot of processed foods have added sugar. It can be in anything – salad dressings, it
can be in cakes and cookies, it can be in soups. They will add sugar for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s the taste, sometimes it’s the
texture. So a good idea is to read the nutrition labels
so you know if you’re getting added sugar. Now if you’re interested in learning more
about how to reduce sugar in your diet, I do have a video, which I will put in the description
box below. Now when it comes to added sugar, the World
Health Organization has a guideline, it’s a lim.. – it’s not a limit, but it’s a guideline. It’s 25 g of added sugar per day. No more than that. But the average American gets over 100 grams
of added sugar a day. Where does it come from? Mostly processed foods. So if you reduce the processed foods in your
diet, automatically you’re eating more whole foods and whole foods don’t have added sugar. Number four is additives. So many processed foods contain a variety
of additives. Things like stabilizers, artificial food colourings,
artifical flavours, uh what else? Gums, texturizers, everything. There are a lot of different additives. Now I don’t want to paint all of the additives
with the same picture. I know a lot of people on the internet will
tell you – additives are toxic. I disagree with that because not all additives
are bad for you, but many of them can be. So whenever you’re in doubt, do your research
– read the nutrition label and do you research. And figure out if it’s something you want
to have or something you want to avoid. Now the other thing I wanted to say about
additives. Additives affect everybody differently. So MSG is good example. MSG does not affect everyone the same way. Some people can tolerate it with minimal issues,
some people cannot. Same thing goes for a lot of gums. So nut milks contain gums like locust bean
gum, xanthan gum, carageenan. Again with gums, everyone is a bit different. Someone who has a very strong digestive system
can handle most of them. Some people with a weaker digestion cannot. So with additives it really depends on the
person and my philosophy is: avoid having too many in your diet because you really don’t
know how they may impact you long-term. Number 5: Processed foods can changes your
taste preferences over time making it harder to stick to whole foods. So most processed foods are engineered to
taste irresistible and to be extremely tempting. So food engineers, food scientists, lots of
different people work on creating products that you can’t stop eating. So it’s like a bag of chips. You think you’re going to have a few and then
you have the whole pack – they’re engineered to taste that good. So with processed foods what happens is over
time your tastebuds get so accustomed to that punch of flavour that whole foods start to
taste kind of – meh. Kind of bland. When I used to eat a lot of processed foods,
especially the sugary kinds, I was so used to that sugary flavour – that hit of sweetness
that I couldn’t enjoy things like an apple or an orange. Because it just didn’t have that same hit
– it wasn’t enjoyable. But now that I’ve shifted to a whole foods
diet and I limit my processed foods… I actually do enjoy my fruit quite a bit. And sometimes I find fruit too sweet! So my tastebuds have changed because I’ve
changed my diet significantly. But I think eating too many processed foods
keeps you in that processed food space. Number 6: Processed foods contain refined
carbohydrates. So carbs are not evil. You can eat carbs and be healthy. It totally depends on how much you eat, what
you eat it with and your body type and the biggest thing – what’s the source of the carbs? So when it comes to carbs – whole food carbs
– carbs that come from actual whole foods that haven’t been changed (in their original
form) that is the best kind of carb. It’s the refined carbs – the ultra processed
foods that contain those refined carbs – that’s the the problem. So what exactly is the issue with refined
carbs? Well it causes blood sugar spikes. So what happens when you eat them is you have
that big rush of blood sugar and then you have that drop and then you’re hungry again. You’re constantly snacking, constantly hungry,
never satisfied. Because there is not enough fibre as well. So refined carbohydrates in processed foods
are the problem. Good examples would be things like cookies,
muffins, cakes, white bread, white pasta. So the best choice really is to stick to whole
foods when it comes to your carbohydrates. Number 7: Processed foods are associated with
obesity, they are associated with changes in metabolism as well as a higher cancer risk
in certain cases. I’ll put a couple of the scientific peer-reviewed
journal articles in the description box, so you can read them. But basically the reason why processed food
has a negative impact on health is because of two things. This is how I view it. One is the fact that it’s so easy to overdo
processed foods. They’re tempting, they’re irresistible. You tend to eat a lot and then that can cause
weight gain in some people. But the biggest thing is when you’re eating
a lot of processed foods, you’re crowding out the whole foods that could have been part
of your diet. And you’re crowding out all that good nutrition
that you could have received from your whole foods. So in that sense a processed food diet, doesn’t
have as many vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals. All those good things that keep you healthy. So that really is the main issue with processed
foods. I hope this video was informative and you
learned something new. Or if you didn’t learn something new, it served
as a refresher for why you’re avoiding processed foods. If you liked the video, give it a thumbs up
and don’t forget to subscribe, because I create videos like this every week. I will see you in the next video. Bye!


  1. What sort of processed food do you struggle with? Let me know in the comments below!🍫🍪🍰🍔🍟🌭🍕

  2. Great video👍🏻 I became a vegan about 2 years ago and now transitioning to a raw vegan diet. Now when I eat a processed food, like a store bought vegan burger, I can actually taste all the chemicals and preservatives in it! Yuck!!! I only crave raw fruits and vegetables 🍊 🍎 🥒

  3. wow, i learned a lot !! It always puzzles me for the longest time, when people said apples are sweet, for me they kind of tasteless and mehh?! I've never enjoyed any kind of fruits before, except dry fruits as snack but in large quantity (i'm talking 500g in one sitting).. Thanks for the informative video and your soothing voice!!
    Can you make a video about sugar addiction, how to accurately identify it and fully recover from it?
    I had a rebound when i tried to do intermittent fasting once. The huge impulse to add sugar to everything that i eat was scary.

  4. Great video, very informative and I love that it's science based and with emphasis on balance, so it's still realistic. Love, Vera from Simple Happy Zen

  5. Very interesting video. I love chips, french fries and chocolate but I'm trying to limit them to small amounts. I wonder what do you think about eating cheese and milk? I drink 2%milk and eat cheese almost everyday.

  6. Great day all, Hi Ria , before I found your site, there was little to no chance of me watching a YouTube video. today, I found myself watching your video's and actually was enjoying it over sifting through data-base after data-base of raw, sometimes confusing data and journals. Great videos, Thank you.

  7. Wow, I've never really thought of frozen fruits and vegetables as processed, but clearly they are. I'm about to eat some almond butter on a gluten-free bread and both of those are processed too. All whole foods at lunch though!

  8. Hi, I love your videos – so informative and helpful! Please could you do one on changing your eating habits and not mindlessly eating? Something along those lines? Also how to make healthy choices when you don't have total control over your diet, for example I'm a teenager and I live with my parents so they provide most of my food. Thank-you xxx

  9. Is meat.. like chicken that you cook in ur oven/bbq considered heavily processed? Im just starting to learn about this stuff

  10. the video is soooo neatly put together! in point 6 you said that it depends on your body type how many carbs you need… could you make a video about diets for body types once? 😊💕🍎🍏

  11. Hi, I found your videos very informative. I've been watching quite a few and I love them. You just got yourself a new subscriber ❤

  12. I’m a new subscriber here. I like your videos. It’s very informative and motivates me to live in a healthy lifestyle . It’s really a struggle for me to stay away from processed foods specially my family seems to be addicted to it. Wish me luck!

  13. This is by far my favorite video. What is your view on organic vs not organic? I follow your guidelines on eating whole foods , but buying organic produce is often too expensive for us.

  14. Very informative, I try to eat whole foods but processed foods are conveniently located near work, quick to eat and packaged appealingly. We all are victims of the processed food industry marketing gimmicks.

  15. So many very ignorant people out there who think putting strawberry jam on white toast for brekkie is healthy lol I had one friend who rang me all excited one day to say she's pregnant and even eating cereal (she said Coco Pops) needless to say the bay was only 5' pounds lol

  16. Loved this video. So informative. I did try to go to the information regarding wholewheat bread. There was nothing there. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  17. This channel is amazing! 😊 She does her research, she covers every question that pops into mind, she communicates clearly and effectively, and she has everything well-sourced and scientifically backed up. Spectacular job! 🧡

  18. Just watched this after having my first processed food in probably a year. My friend insisted on lunch today but the only place I will eat at that makes everything fresh from scratch was closed. Well I hoped to choose something that was minimal processed but clearly I was wrong. I barely made the ten minute ride home as fast as I could to the bathroom (tmi I know) and immediately was tired slow sluggish. I lost so much motivation I had to lay down and fell asleep. Now even 4 hours later I feel terrible and even my lips and face are tingly and numb. I knew better, should skipped lunch and made it here. Great reminder to me how bad that garbage is for you!

  19. Hi Ria. I use soy milk as I am allergic to dairy and I have ibs bad so I will now get more expensive soy milk from France can't remember name company but it has no gums ie I just saw gellan gum in my soya milk listed as a stabilizer. I am immensely grateful to you!!

  20. Frozen strawberries are actually healthier because the vitamin C and other nutrients in fresh strawberries degrades so quickly.

  21. great video !! i'm really sick of eating crap and really want to treat my body better.. this really taught me alot 🙂 much love from Vancouver, Canada 🙂

  22. The only problem with your videos are that you are so good looking that it’s hard for me to concentrate on what you’re actually talking about, I have to watch them several times and not look at you to really absorb what you’re talking about. Anyway very informative and keep up the good work

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